Thursday, February 2, 2012

Relative - Father

This one is tough.  Not so straight forward.  I have always been a daddy's girl, but we've had our ups and downs.

There was a 15 year period during which we neither saw each other nor spoke.  When I got the news that my Uncle Russ died, my dad's older brother, I called him.  Its been quite a road back, but I think we are both committed to treating each other better than we had in the past.

You know, I am reminded of another death that brought back the most important person in the world to me.  But that story is for another day - probably this month, if the writing prompts cover husband.

The teenage years were tumultuous for me.  I don't think my dad understood.  He had his own "stuff" to deal with.  His Big Blue Career, his girlfriends.  He put me on auto-pilot, which, I felt was working rather well. 

I wasn't a complicated person, until that day on the airplane.  The lady next to me asked if I was headed into Manhattan and could we share a cab?  I told her my dad was picking me up and that we could drive her too.

How as I supposed to know he'd marry her 6 months later?!?!?

And how as I supposed to know how complicated step-hood would be?!??!

And how completely 2nd I would be from that moment on...

It culminated with my hasty exit from home 2 weeks after my 18th birthday and by the time I was 20 or so, our relationship was over.  We were disappointed and hurt.

Then Uncle Russ died.  I called.  Dad sounded happy to hear from me.  We arranged to meet for dinner.  We were working at the same large tech company and didn't even know it. 

We've stumbled a few times since, but its going all right.  We are going to the Grand Canyon together at the end of March, with my kids and maybe my husband (if he can complete his current consuming project). 

I don't feel like I did yesterday, when I wrote about my mom.  I could go there.  But I feel like I am not going here.  I am not sure why.  Is it more difficult?  Or is there really nowhere to go with this one?


In other news, I bookmark this...  which I found through Judy who was kind enough to drop by this morning.  I checked her out.  I like her.  And I like this that she participated in last month.

This writing thing, its here for me.  Its a physical feeling - an altered state when I really get going.  I like that.  I want to spend more time there.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lets Try This Again

So, I failed at blogging each day in January.  Okay.  Fine.  I give myself permission to try again...  I hope that's okay with you.  And if its not, I guess you'll be going now...

For those of you who are willing to try with me again, thanks.  Some things, like brushing your teeth, need to be done no matter what else happens in a day.  For me, blogging is a little lower on the list of things that can't, under any circumstances, be missed.  Perhaps with such an attitude I distance myself even further from my Nobel Prize for literature, but I am willing to live in this way.  And my family needs me to keep my perspective, too.  They need me more than my blog.

But, I do want to give this a serious try.  So, I start anew...

This month I will try to keep up with the prompts - it might keep me a bit more on track so that I don't deteriorate into just flat-out drivel...

This month:  Relatives.  Today:  About My Mother...

My mother has strength few can imagine.  She's found her way back from two attempts at suicide.  Can you imagine the despair she felt that would lead her to slit her wrists while her 5 year old slept in the next room?  That is unimaginable despair - at least for me.

She's 70 now.  And Happy.  This can be attributed to two people and one miracle drug. 

When I was five, things were tough.  My mom was home trying to raise me.  My dad worked in high tech and was completely immersed in his career - climbing the Great, Big Blue, corporate ladder.  Now that I have children, I know how difficult it is to raise them.  Being a stay at home mom means she's working night and day.  With no time off.  And this was in the 70's, when women actually still did their own cooking and house keeping.  So she truly worked, physically and mentally. 

My uncle was coming to visit from DC.  My mom's younger brother.  It was late in the evening.  I was in bed, listening to my "dancing record" - Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.  My dad was off to the train station to pick up my uncle.  Something was wrong.  Suddenly I heard lots of voices - men, and Mr. Yankwit was in my room, plucking me from my bed.

"Why don't I carry you next door to our house and you can have a sleep over with Ian?" he said. 

The Yankwi's took care of me for a few days. 

The next three years involved long hospital stays, shock therapy, another suicide attempt, and divorce. 

I remember mom was in the hospital for my birthday, and they said we could take her out to dinner, but when we arrived, she wasn't having a good day.  We visited with her for a few minutes, but it was awkward.  There was shock therapy that day. 

You know, as I write this, I am not so sure I remember all this correctly.  The only person who would really remember, would never talk about it.  My dad and mom ended up divorced at the end of these fuzzy three years. 

Fast foward beyond a decade of languishing...  My mom had been living with her parents in Michigan while I lived with my father in NYC.  I was visiting for the summer.  My mom wigged out.   My uncle and grandfather wrestle her into the station wagon and carted her off to a mental hospital...  Where we meet our first savior. 

Dr. Oriano.  Somehow, this man gets through to mom.  My guess is that he was as good with medicinal cocktails, as he was with the talk therapy.  Over the course of the next 5 or so years, she somehow learns to stand on her own two feet.   She faces her depression head-on.

This is hard to write.  My body feels strange.  I want to cry and my forearms and fingers are tingling.  I want to weep.  My heart hurts. 

How could she survive all this?  I could not.  I could not.  She was so mis-used.  So un-loved.